Now that summer has arrived, and with so many of us staying home this year, your family pool is probably a great source of fun, exercise, and social interaction. You might even be the most popular family on the block! However, any accident, from the simplest slip and fall to a loss of life involving a swimming pool, especially if it involves a child, is a tragic event to be involved in.
How Big Is The Problem?
Featuring many sad statistics, the CDC reports that every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States. If you are the homeowner and you have a swimming pool, you should be aware that there are plenty of lawyers in business whose sole expertise is suing negligent property owners.
What Constitutes Liability?
In Illinois, your vulnerability to a personal injury lawsuit from someone injured at your pool pretty much turns on a concept called premises liability. In most residential cases, merely being the owner of a property is enough to make you liable. The duty to keep guests and visitors safe falls upon the party in actual possession or control of the property. In Illinois, there is specific legislation that outlines what the party in control of the pool is responsible for. Much of this legislation revolves around barriers of a certain height and limiting free access.
Premises liability means that property owners must ensure their premises are safe for authorized visitors. If they fail to do so, innocent people could be hurt. For someone to win a premises liability case against you, it would mean proving that you, as the property owner, were negligent and did not use reasonable care. In addition to lack of care, it must also be proven that you knew the property was not safe, yet failed to take action to fix the problem area. In short, swimming pool owners are obligated to provide a safe swimming pool area by taking certain precautions to prevent swimming pool accidents from occurring. It is believed that most such accidents are preventable, so it is incumbent on you to make certain of those precautions. Be aware of any state and any local laws and make sure you are in compliance.
What About Unauthorized Access?
Even if a person was trespassing and using your swimming pool without permission, it is still possible to be held liable for any injury that results from an accident in or around your pool. If you don’t follow the laws for security and upkeep of your pool, you could be held liable for injuries caused by your negligence. This liability can be applied to something as simple as a slip and fall accident as well as something more tragic.
What To Watch For
Aside from being aware of local and state laws, there are some common themes to pool accidents and resulting lawsuits. It is wise to be aware of several basic areas, such as wet and slippery surfaces, safety equipment that is defective or non-existent, lack of proper supervision, faulty drains, inadequate barriers, dangerous water quality, and many others. Damages for accidents resulting from failure to provide reasonable safety can be devastating.
While any money damages awarded depend on a number of factors, such as the circumstances of the accident, the degree of negligence, injuries sustained, and the laws of the jurisdiction involved, let’s face it, this is a place you don’t want to be.
We Are Here For You
If you have had the unfortunate experience of an accident in or around your residential pool, call us right away. We at Costa Ivone help individuals and families protect themselves and their assets. These cases can be very complicated. Our job is to provide the legal support you need so you can concentrate on your family.